After spending three weeks quarantined in our home during the global COVID-19 pandemic, I began to terribly miss my 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport (RS), which is undergoing a total nuts-and-bolts restoration at JSK Custom Paint and Auto Works in Valenzuela City. The Luzon-wide lock down stopped work at the JSK shop and I couldn’t visit my beloved Camaro, which I bought in 1996. I had it hurriedly restored two years later for the 1998 Trans Sport Show, had it painted Hugger Orange, the official Chevy color, with black Super Sport (SS) or highway stripes on its hood and trunk lid, and attached badges to make it a Z28 tribute.
Fortunately for me, even though my car is far away, I can just fiddle with the replicas of my Camaro that I had commissioned sometime in the early 2000s. Just a couple of steps from my desk is a display cabinet of model cars where I keep three die cast scale model replicas of my car. And since we were obliged to stay home to be safe from and avoid the spread of the virus, my wife Shawie and I, along with our kids Vette and Chevy, decided to do some spring cleaning. Naturally, I dusted my display cabinet of toy cars first, paying particular attention to my Camaro replica models.
After the Camaro was painted in 1998, I liked the finished look so much that I decided to have my Citrus Green 1:18 die cast scale model ERTL 1970 Camaro Z28 RS painted with the same hue. Initially, I wanted to get the front seats of another 1:18 scale model ERTL, a 1973 Pontiac Firebird SD455, to replace the low-back seats of the ’70 Camaro scale model and faithfully replicate the original high-back seats of my actual Camaro. I decided to preserve the Firebird die cast model and keep my scale model projects simple. Besides, there’s an American company that can replicate your car in 1:18 scale but the process is quite expensive.
Along with the 1:18 ERTL Camaro, I also had my die cast Matchbox ’71 Camaro RS Z28, which originally came in a garish bronze color, painted the same Hugger Orange with black stripes. It was like having a “Mini Me” for the larger 1:18 ERTL scale model.
An unexpected but pleasant later find was a Micro Machines ’70 Camaro RS Z28 that was already finished in orange with black SS stripes. The cute and cartoon-like Micro Machines toy car was included in a toy set that was intended for my son Chevy. I got the micro Camaro and completed a trio of mini replicas for my beloved Camaro.
While cleaning the top of my display case where boxes of unopened model cars were placed, my wife found an AMT plastic 1:25 model kit of a 1970 Chevy Camaro Z/28. It was a gift sent by my older brother Arnel, who’s based in the U.S. Knowing how much I love my Camaro, my brother sent me the model kit about five years ago after it was released in the States. It’s still unopened, not assembled, and in its original box. I don’t have any plans of building this kit. I just want to preserve it as original as it is.
It’s been a long time since my 1971 Camaro RS was parked in our garage and I plan to focus on its restoration as soon as I get the chance after this pandemic is over. In the mean time, I’ll have to make do with the three scale model replicas that are parked in my display cabinet. During this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period, I really got to appreciate life’s simple and “small” joys!